Bit of an odd subject this and one which I didn’t think had much importance to most scenario players, but turns out I was wrong. Referee aren’t just for the tournaments and pro players, they have their place in all kinds of paintballing. I bet whenever you’ve gone to a scenario paintball venue you’ve been under the steely gaze and objective briefings of trained marshals yeah? Well a referee carries out much the same role, but with more of a focus on everyone following the rules.
Everyone, from die-hard enthusiasts to paintballing birthday parties, have at some point came off of the paintball field only to hear their team-mate or a member of the opposition complain about an unfair shot or, let’s face it, deny even getting hit in the first place yeah? No one likes cheaters, so a paintball ref can be a handy thing to have. And here’s how to do it.
Let your presence be known to all players Don’t make everyone hate you immediately, but instead make sure that everyone knows there will be a ref on the field and that that person is there to make sure it’s a fair game. You’ll find that the mere mention of a ref will suddenly make everything play clean anyway, however nothing beats a hi-vis jacket for saying ‘I’m Official’.
Know the rules The rules to each game will usually be layed out by the marshals or even between the teams before the game. Make sure you know them, know any mission objectives and, importantly, know exactly who is on each team. Do this bit right and the rest of your job is easy.
Get some practice If you can find a mentor (like in Karate Kid) then follow them for a few games to see how it is done but, failing that, ask if it’s okay to ‘sit in’ on a couple of games to hone your observation skills and practice simply not getting in the way.
Don’t get in the way Sounds simple but, like most sports, a referee needs to be in the thick of the action without once getting in the way. Try and identify a few good observation spots where you can watch the game and cause minimal interference to each team. Saying that, you’ve got to be prepared to move too. A paintball game can very quickly switch from slow-paced and tactical to a fast, furious showdown in seconds, so you need to stay alert and make sure you pick up all the details.
Don’t be hater The simple fact is that every player knows when they get hit, so they don’t need a ref shouting at them and rubbing salt into the wound (so to speak). But if you catch anyone wiping, well that’s a different story…